Zion Riverside Food Centre, also known as Zion Road Food Centre, is a popular hawker centre located directly opposite Great World City – considered one of the prime (aka expensive) locations in Singapore.
However, this is where you can still find affordable eats, with many stalls still being here since as I was young.
During the ‘good old days’, I remember that Zion Road Food Centre is also a popular supper haunt for those who chiong Zouk and clubs nearby (until Spize came along, and many stalls also started closing earlier.)
Even though there are only 32 stalls and it may be one of the smallest food centres around, its offerings definitely do not pale in comparison to any of the other famous ones.
No. 18 Zion Road Fried Kway Teow
Opening Hours: 12.30pm – 10:00pm Daily
Dark, Oily Char Kway Teow Previously Patronised By PM Lee
Easily the stall with the longest queue. The stall sells only Char Kway Teow fried-to-order in varying sizes, with the $3 plate being the basic option.
I found that the rice noodles were darker than usual, due to the substantial addition of the sweet sauce which also gave it a robust flavour.
The plate also came with a good helping of ingredients including cockles, fish cake, egg and Chinese sausages. (I found this much better previously, so I am not its biggest fan.)
It has even been patronised by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong before. (Come to think of it, it is one of the nearest food centre to 38 Oxley Road?)
Lau Goh Teochew Chye Thow Kway
Opening Hours: 12:00pm – 2:00pm, 7:00pm – 11:00pm (Mon, Wed – Sat)
10:00am – 3:00pm, 6:00pm – 11:00pm (Sun). Closed Tues
Black and White Carrot Cake by Deaf Hawker
Carrot Cake seller Peter Goh might seem to be your usual hawker at first sight. In fact, he was extremely polite and smiled thoroughly, asking if you wanted more chilli and pepper.
It was only after reading a sign that I realised that he was deaf, and had to take orders by either lip-reading or through gestures.
Disability had not prevented him from taking over this popular stall from his father (who is Lau Goh).
The stall specialises in classic Teochew style carrot cake and sells both black and white carrot cake ($4 onwards depending on portion size). Those who cannot decide between the two options can simply get the black and white mixed version – the best of both worlds.
I found his version to taste ‘healthier’ and less greasy than usual, probably because Peter used vegetable oil instead of lard.
Fresh Taste Big Prawn Noodle (Noo Cheng Adam Road Big Prawn Mee)
Opening Hours: 6:00pm – 11.30pm (Tues, Wed, Fri), 6:30pm – 11:30pm (Thurs), 12pm – 3pm and 6pm – 11:30pm (Sat), 12pm – 1am (Sun)
Hae Mee With Broth That Packs An Umami Punch
Of all the stalls at Zion Road, this is the one I frequent most often, and I don’t seem to get bored of its taste.
It is a branch of the original at Adam Road, and as such there may be some difference in terms of taste of the two.
The stall serves both dry and soup versions of their signature prawn noodle from $6 onwards. The size and number of the prawns do get progressively larger with the prices, but I always order the most affordable bowl.
Because I am there really for the soup.
Cooked for hours with pork ribs and prawn head, the broth was incredibly tasty (and I don’t get MSG attacks after.)
Boon Tong Kee Kway Chap Braised Duck
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 10:00pm Daily
Tender Braised Duck and Smooth Kway Chap
I initially wondered about the stall name, though it had no relation with the other famous chicken rice of similar name.
Boon Tong Kee Kway Chap Braised Duck specialises in Kway Chap ($3 onwards) which comes with braised eggs, duck meat and other ingredients. I liked that the rice noodles used was smooth and silky.
There are two types of chilli sauce, and I would recommend a combination of both. The thicker chilli for the meats, and the watery type for the kway and beancurd.
The stall is run by a relatively young Madam Yang, and although the recipe was derived from the internet and through experimentation instead of being some age old family recipe, it has already earned the stall popularity from customers.
Mohamed Sultan Road Hot & Cold Cheng Tng
Opening Hours: 12:00pm – 9:00pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
Cheng Tng of Old Family Recipe
I need to tell you that this version of Cheng Tng is different from the traditional types you may be used to.
It comes with canned longans and lychees that may put off some fans of the classic recipe off. The base is also clear (and not brownish), with some of the sweetness coming from the canned syrup (I guess).
The stall only sells a few items, including Hot/Cold Cheng Tng ($2), Ginkgo Nut Longan Soup ($2.50), Ginkgo Nut Soup ($2.50) and Ginkgo Nut Sweet Potato Soup ($2.50). I would usually add on the soft ginkgo nuts.
Xin Fei Fei Wanton Noodle
Opening Hours: 9.30am – 3:00pm (Mon – Sun)
Springy Old-School Wanton Mee
Seriously, I have no idea what the relation to the famous Fei Fei Wanton Noodles is. But to no offence to Fei Fei fans, I liked this version more. insert *shocked* emoticon
The stall specialises in Wanton Mee ($3, $4, $5). While it looked plain and unassuming in presentation, once you take a bite, you would know what I mean.
The noodles were thin and springy, coated in this addictive, somewhat lardy sauce. Its slightly plump and crisp deep fried wanton were also worthy of mention. Long queue, long wait.
Ah Wang La Mian Xiao Long Bao
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 10:00pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
Cooked To Order La Mian and Guo Tie
This is one of the newest stalls in the food centre, taking over the corner unit which changed hands quite frequently. I hope this stays!
Ah Wang La Mian Xiao Long Bao run by a Chinese couple specialises in Guo Tie or Pan Fried Dumplings, Xiao Long Bao ($6 for 10 pieces), and Steamed Pork and Chive Dumplings ($4.50 for 7 pieces).
The Guo Tie had a thin and crisp outside layer, while the fillings of minced meat and vegetables were juicy. The stock within might just spurt out if you eat them hot.
For you woulld prefer something more substantial, you can try the Dan Dan Noodles ($4) or any of the other la mian offerings.
Seng Huat Western Food
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 2.30pm, 5.30pm – 9pm (Wed – Sun)
Value for Money Western Food
The stall sells classic western food items such as Fish and Chips ($5) as well as more exotic options such as Ostrich Steak.
They also have Fried Fish rice dish which comes with fried egg for just $3.
If not, go for the old-school classic options such as Grilled Chicken Chop and Chicken Cutlets ($5.50) which comes in sizeable portion of fries and baked beans.
Riverside Good Food
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 10.30pm (Wed – Mon), 11.30am – 6:00pm (Tues)
Fried White Kway Teow
Okay, this has generally a shorter line than the other Fried Kway Teow stall.
Riverside Good Food sells a variety of local delights such as Fried Hokkien Mee ($3 onwards), and Fried Oyster Omelette ($5 onwards).
The special item here is the White Kway Teow ($4 onwards), which is like normal fried rice noodles without the addition of sweet black sauce. Tasted less flavourful and ‘healthier’, so might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
Hock Heng Fish Soup
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 8:00pm (Thurs – Sat), 11:00am – 2:00pm (Sun)
$3 Fresh Fish Soup
Hard to find $3 Fresh Fish Soup nowadays, and it comes in quite a comfortable portion.
Hock Heng Fish Soup is run by an elderly uncle and auntie, who mentioned they just wanted to work a 3-4 days a week.
The Seafood and Fish slices tasted fresh, and the soup base was towards the lighter side. The addition of fried garlic and seaweed added a tinge of aroma and fragrance.
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